The much anticipated Palm Pre smartphone is about a week away from being released, and while we’ve covered pretty much every newsworthy aspect of the device, some interesting pieces of information keep churning out from around the web. The latest tidbit comes straight from D7: All Things Digital, were Palm executives have confirmed that the Pre will effortlessly sync with Apple’s iTunes by tricking it into thinking it’s an iPod.
Although third-party applications have long been available to allow various MP3 players to sync with iTunes, Palm’s Media Sync feature is fundamentally different in that it actually uses Apple’s vendor and product id so that the Pre is recognized as an Apple device. Older copy-protected songs and, naturally, iPhone apps won’t sync with Palm’s smartphone but otherwise DRM-free songs and even photos from iPhoto will transfer without effort. It will be interesting to see how Apple reacts to this.
Not surprisingly, many of the Palm Pre engineering and development team are former Apple employees, including Jon Rubinstein, one of the designers of the original iPod. The move should provide an easier path for iPhone converts, though it’s also inherently risky, since Apple could just as easily update iTunes to block Palm’s handset from accessing its software – potentially initiating a cat and mouse game between the two.